Video guide launched to help sexual violence survivors understand justice system
10 July 2019, 05:57 | Updated: 10 July 2019, 06:37
Rape Crisis Scotland has launched an updated video guide to help survivors of sexual violence understand the criminal justice system.
The video sets out each stage of the process clearly and features key people that survivors will come into contact with during the justice process - including a specially trained police officer, a rape crisis advocacy worker, a Procurator Fiscal, a defence lawyer, a prosecution lawyer and a judge.
Funded by the Scottish Government, the video is designed to be an accessible and comprehensive guide to a system that many survivors describe as complex and disorientating.
It is hoped that the video will increase access to justice for crimes that Rape Crisis Scotland said are widely under-reported.
To mark the launch on Wednesday, Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf and the Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC (co-chairs to the Victims Taskforce) are meeting with a group of survivors advocating for change.
Sandy Brindley, of Rape Crisis Scotland, said: "There's no silver bullet when it comes to addressing the issues survivors experience within the Criminal Justice System, and even though there has been significant effort and improvements in recent years, we should be in no doubt that there is much more to do.
"Rape Crisis have always and will always support survivors whether they choose to report or not, but we believe that knowledge is power and are glad to be relaunching this video and demystifying the justice process.
"We're pleased that the Cabinet Secretary and Lord Advocate have set aside the time to meet directly with those who have experience of seeking justice, and we hope their voices are heard."
Facilitated by Rape Crisis Scotland, the Survivor Reference Group is made up of survivors from across Scotland who have had some degree of engagement with the justice system.
The group has worked to identify common issues that survivors experience in pursuing justice and make recommendations for improvement.
Mr Yousaf said: "Listening to the views of survivors of rape and sexual assault is vital as we work to put victims' rights at the centre of the justice system.
"I am grateful to the members of the Survivor Reference Group who are prepared to speak out where the system is not delivering for their needs.
"We know the criminal justice process can be daunting and I am determined that we continue to make improvements to ensure it is trauma-informed at every stage.
"Only those who have been through this process can tell us what it really feels like and what matters to them.
"I hope that the new video resource will help survivors navigate the system and increase access to justice for victims of these appalling crimes."